Facebook Faceoff

Do Not Share a Link to Personal Lubricant on Facebook Unless You Want It to Become an Ad


For avid Facebook users, it’s become second nature to “like” a brand or political position or angsty emo group like “When I say ‘I hate you’ I mean ‘I love you but you hurt me.'”And most informed users know that in the court of Facebook, your likes can be used against you–mainly, as ads displayed to your friends in some dystopian form of peer pressure: “Jessica likes Betabeat! You should too!”

But did you know that the links you share on Facebook can also be served to your friends as ads? As the New York Times reports today, that’s what happened to Nick Bergus, who jokingly shared an Amazon link to a 55-gallon barrel of lube. Read More

It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It

Facebook’s King-Making Superpower Has Its Limits


Does Facebook have a secret superpower? That’s the theory floated by Nick Bilton in the New York Times today. Because Facebook connects users “to more than nine million apps and services through Facebook Connect, the Open Graph developer platform, and the hundreds of millions of like buttons that perforate Web pages across the Internet, the company can see what people are using,” and thereby predict–and influence–what becomes popular, argues Mr. Bilton, who compares the skill to a sort of startup “spidey sense.”

In monitoring photo-sharing, Facebook used that data to figure out that it needed to acquire Instagram. But in the case of Viddy and Socialcam, two new video-sharing services, Facebook flexed its might to “experiment with who wins and who loses online,” Mr. Bilton said. In other words, Zuck can knight your startup the next Instagram depending on Facebook’s willingness to promote your app. Read More